Wednesday 6 December 2023

I don't believe it!

 I don't believe it!

Today, I was expecting a callat 12:10 or so to tell me the results of the scan I had two days ago. The call came at 14:10, but that wasn't the problem, the consultant was running late.

No. The problem was that I had a call at 9:30 (which I missed, and you can't call them back). The call was to ask me at which hospital I had the scan, because without that knowledge, they could not get the scan results.

But, if course, the NHS knew where I had the scan, because I'd been told to go there to have the scan. The problem is that the NHS administration system was written by goldfish and run by monkeys. It wasn't possible for the NHS at Oxford Churchill, to know that I had my scan at Amersham. Why Amersham? Because Amersham is five minutes from where I live and Oxford is about an hour. And it really should be easy to electronically move the scan results from here to there.

So what should I do in future?

Well, I get a letter from Oxford telling me to get scanned at Amersham giving me the appointment date and time, from the Oxford secretaries. And then, I was advised, I should phone up the same Oxford secretaries to tell them that it's to be Amersham ... information  that is in the letter that they just sent me.

You couldn't make it up.

Look, a squirrel!

Look, a squirrel!

Non-EU immigration to the UK at the end of last year, was 925,000 people.

Asylum claimants were 76,000.

Immigrants arriving in small boats - 46,000.

So, let's look at the Rwanda policy. I'm not going to look at the legality, but whether the policy can work.

People crossing the channel in a small boat, are taking a big risk, but despite that, despite the fact that they're going from one safe country (France) to another,  they're still willing to take that risk.

And they know what they're getting into. In today's world, the internet and smart phones, means that everyone has access to information. They're still willing to take that risk.

The numbers tell us that we're taking aim at 5% of immigrants. A HUGE fuss is being made about the Rwanda policy, as if it's going to have a significant effect in immigration. But it won't - partly because it's only aimed at 5% of immigrants, and partly because despite the much-trumpeted deterrent effect, desperate people are risking death to get to the UK, and the possibility of being sent somewhere else, is nothing compared to the possibility of death.

So why is our government doing this? It's because "something must be done" and this is something. It's a distraction from what many people see as the main problem, which is that there are too many immigrants from non-EU coming here.

If you want to tackle the number of non-EU immigrants, you need to take aim at the 879,000, not the 46,000.

This policy is "Look, a squirrel!"


Friday 3 November 2023

Car capers

Car capers

We have three cars, mine, hers and a spare car. Recently, she was saying that something that she didn't like abut hers was the delay before acceleration kicked in. That's the turboharger. All cars seem to have them now, I suppose it's cheaper than a big engine. But electric cars have maximum torque at start-up.

So we did some research. One of the things she wanted, was a car that isn't wide, and so easier to park. And a sun roof, and a reversing camera and other stuff ...

We chose the Fiat 500e. 200 miles range, all the features we want, and quite narrow and small. Three doors, but I measured the doors and they don't need extra space to open.

So we went to Palmers at Hemel, and we chose "Ocean Green" and they said we could have it in a couple of weeks.

We went back on November 1st, and the car was ready. The sales guy showed us how thing worked, and we drove away in it, leaving the trade-in car behind.

We stopped off at a KFC for lunch, then drove home, and I parked the car.

Next day, I had a local appointment to check my reading glasses. I took the Fiat. As soon as I got into the road, there was a plethora of warning lights. Tyre pressure, airbags and everything else. So I thought, this isn't a real problem, it's the warning system has gone wrong. I wanted to power-cycle the system, like one does for a computer, but I didnt want to stop in the road. The car park where I was headed was only a kilometer way, so I headed there and parked in a parking bay.

And then I pressed the engine on/off button. Nothing happened.

The car was in "Drive" and nothing I could do would get it out of drive. I had to keep my foot firmly on the brake pedal or it would roll forward into the woods next to the car park.

I tried all sorts of ways to get it out of Drive - nothing worked. So eventually I phoned Jason and asked him to get here fast and bring two bricks - I didn't explain why.

We used the bricks to chock the wheels, so that at last I could take my foot off the footbrake.

This was appalling. Can you imagine, you're driving and you're stick in Drive? It's dangerous. The system has failed, and it hasn't failed-safe.

We phoned for the RAC, the man came quickly but couldn't switch off the battery (there doesn't appear to be any sort of kill-switch). Eventually, he pulled fuses until that did the trick, but on putting the fuses back the car was still in drive.

So we called Palmers. There was no-one there on the Fiat room; apparently they're short staffed. Actually, on that day, they were zero-staffed. Eventually, ladysolly managed to talk to someone in accounts, who said we should get a car transporter to take it back to Palmers, so we ordered that.

So then I called Luke at Palmers - he's on the Jeep team, but at least it was someone car-knowing that I could talke to. He asked us to cancel the car transporter and he'd send Stuart with a loaner and the retrieve the car.

Stuart arrived with the loaner and no tools, no torch (it was dark by now) and no clue whatsoever. I suspect that Palmers thought this was a simple case of PEBCAC (problem exists between car and carseat) and that Stuart would imediately know what to do.

Meanwhile, the car park told us that we were violating their conditions by leaving the car in their car park after 6pm. I ignored tht, because there was no way I dould get the car out of their car park. If there's a fine, I'll pas it over to Palmers, since we'd cancelled the transporter at their request.

Next day, I called Palmers. They said that they had a fix, because Fiat had told them about this a while back, but advised them not to apply the (software) fix. So Palmers came out again, this time (I guess) with the fix and took the car away (we'd already given them the keys).

I expressed my dissatisfaction, and asked what they planned to do. They offered me two options. 1) Take back that same car (now, hopefully, fixed) or 2) Have a full refund.

There was no way we would have confidence in Fiat, Palmers or that particular car, so I told them to do the refund.

So we're back to square one, except I've done some more research, and I an get almost the same car (black instead of Ocean Green) and without the reversing camera, for several thousands less, because it was registered by the dealer (Glyn Hopkin) and therefore technically second hand (with ten miles on the clock). We can get a reversing camera for some £500, so we're going to look at that car on Sunday.

Tuesday 3 October 2023



I just watched Partygate on Channel four, and I'm appalled and furious. They really didn't think that the rules applied to them!

We had a visit recently from our local Conservative candidate, and I was quite rude to him. Now I think I wasn't rude enough.

There needs to be an enquiry. Prosecutions should be severe. £50 fines are just not enough - there should be very stiff fines for some, prison for others, and shame should be heaped on all who participated.

Didn't anyone say "Hold on, this is wrong, we shouldn't be doing this."

The British people made huge sacrifices during the Covid years, but these despicable people could not even sacrifice their parties. They behaved like irresponsible children.

The channel four program should be repeated again and again - this political gang should not be elected again until they are able to display a proper level of responsibility.

The picture above is of actors in the Channel four drama.

And this is the Channel Four released video.

Friday 29 September 2023

Next birthday present

Next birthday or Christmas present

 Sheepskin mule slippers. My old pair is almost worn out. I've tried buying online, but the comfort isn't right,so I need to try them on, so M&S or John Lewis maybe.

Which probably means a trip to London.

Thursday 28 September 2023

Update on Chemo

 Update on Chemo

I had my second round a couple of days ago, it went well apart from the difficulty that the first nurse had in doing the cannula. But the second nurse got it immediately.

I'm re-reading the Sharpe books by Bernard Cornwell.

 I did have a side effect of the first round, rather bad constipation, but a few doses of a gentle laxative fixed that. It felt like the Flying Scotsman emerging from a tunnel.

My eating is normal, and yesterday I walked more than a kilometer, so my back is feeling a lot better.



Tuesday 19 September 2023

Chemotherapy and a bike

Chemotherapy and a bike

I had my first chemotherapy today. It went a lot better than I was expecting.

They put me in a very comfortable chair, cannulated me (just a sharp scratch) and then dripped stuff into me for about five hours. And that was it. They gave me a cheese sandwich and soup for lunch.

My back is a lot better than it was when I first came off my bike on 11 September (which was the day before I was supposed to go in for chemo). And on the following day, my back was in too much pain, so instead of staring the chemo, I visited A&E (on the advice of the chemo people), which turned out to be a mistake.

So here's what happened with the bike. I was cycling on tarmac, on a road that was so minor there was nearly zero traffic, and I became aware that my back wheel wasn't running smoothly. So I stopped, had a look, and it was totally flat.

What to do? I thought, maybe I can wheel it back home, because I was only about a mile away. So I dismounted ... I put my right foot down on the tarmac, swung my left leg over the saddle ... but maybe I'm not as flexible as I thought, because I was a couple of inches shy of getting my leg over.

And then I toppled. I fell flat on my back, and banged my head quite hard on the tarmac. I was wearing a helmet, and it wasn't just one of these skeletal bike helmets, it was more like a motorbike helmet. So I knew I'd banged my head hard because of the sound the helmet made when it hit the tarmac, but there's about an inch thickness of padding between the outside of the helmet and my skull, so it didn't hurt my head at all.

But it did hurt my back.

I was able to disentangle myself from the bike and stand up, got off the road, and my back was hurting ... a lot. So wheeling it home was not now a possibility. Of course, I had my phone, so I called ladysolly and she came out in the car and picked my up. I chained the bike to a nearby tree for later collection (that bike is much too heavy for her to lift into a car). And she took me home.

At the A&E, I gave them all the details, and then sat and waited. And waited. It turned out that they'd had a major computing crash the previous day, and they were still recovering from that, and their system lost my details - lost me completely.

Eventually, they found me, and sent me off for a scan - of my head, which wasn't actually the problem I was presenting with.

After about nine hours total, I eventually saw a doctor who told me that my head was fine. "I'm not here about my head, it's my back!" I explained. So he pressed each of the vertebrae in my back, and told me that if I'd broken anything, I'd be reportinng a lot of pain, and there was no pain. So he discharged me.

OK, it's nice to know that there's no major problem, and I took some paracetamol to reduce the pain for a while. And now it's feeling pretty good. But I won't be biking for a while.

When I returned home today after the chemo, I did three walking laps round the garden, about a third of a mile, which told me that my back was indeed recovering nicely.

The main possible side effect of the chemo that I'm taking is nausea, and they gave me several prescriptions for that, two that I had to take, and others which were optional if I felt bad. But it's five hours since I completed the chemo, and I feel fine.